Tribeca Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, PLLC – New York NY
What is Corticotomy?
Corticotomy is a relatively new method of treatment for selected deformities and defects of the jaw and skull. Although it was first used in 1903, in the 1950’s the Russian orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Ilizarov, slowly perfected the surgical and postoperative management of corticotomy treatment to correct deformities and repair defects in the arms and legs. His work went mostly unnoticed until he presented to the Western Medical Society in the mid-1960s.
Corticotomy was first used to treat defects of the oral and facial region in 1990. Since then, the surgical and technological advances made in the field of surgical orthodontics have provided oral and maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontists with a safe and predictable method to treat selected deformities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Corticotomy
What does the term corticotomy mean? Simply stated, corticotomy means creating surgical bony cuts around teeth or tooth segments and is used in conjunction with orthodontics to achieve movements that may not be possible with orthodontics alone.
Is the surgery for corticotomy more involved than “traditional surgery” for a similar procedure? No. Corticotomy surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis in the office with the patient going home the same day of surgery. The surgical procedure itself is less invasive than a larger orthognathic type of surgery so there is usually less pain and swelling.
Is corticotomy painful? Since the surgical procedures are done while the patient is under general anesthesia, pain during the surgical procedure is not an issue. Postoperatively, you will be supplied with appropriate analgesics (pain killers) to keep you comfortable, and antibiotics to fight off infection. Activation of the orthodontic appliances for movement may cause mild discomfort. In general, the movement of the teeth produces discomfort roughly similar to having braces tightened.
What are the benefits of corticotomy vs. traditional surgery for a similar condition? Corticotomy procedures typically produce less pain and swelling than the traditional surgical procedure for a similar condition. Corticotomy eliminates the need for a second surgical site to harvest bone graft material. Lastly, the corticotomy procedure is associated with greater stability when used in cases where movement of bony segments are involved.
What are the disadvantages of corticotomy? Corticotomy requires the patient to visit the orthodontic office frequently during the initial weeks after surgery. This is necessary because this is the time frame for maximum movement. In some cases, a second surgical procedure is necessary to remove any surgical appliances.
Can corticotomy be used instead of bone grafts alone to add bone to my jaws? Yes. The corticotomy procedure uses bone grafting material which can augment or add bone to areas which may be deficient.
Does corticotomy leave scars on the face? No. The entire surgery is performed within the mouth and any devices used by Drs. Fay and Schiffman remain inside the mouth. There are no facial surgical incisions made, therefore, no facial scars result.
Are there any age limitations for patients who can receive corticotomy? No. Corticotomy works well on patients of all ages. In general, the younger the patient the shorter the movement time and the faster the consolidation phase. Adults require slightly longer period of distraction and consolidation because the bone regenerative capabilities are slightly slower than those of adolescence or infants.